I was selected as one of the 20 people to be a part of National Geographic Channel’s (India) Insta-Walk 2014. The walk took place in Delhi’s Mehrauli’s Archeological Park – 200 acres of history and memory.
Mehrauli is the site of plethora of monuments, where the first legends, history and myths associate Mehrauli with the descendents of the Pandavas. Later it saw the building of Lal Kot, a bastion of the first real city of Delhi. Next,it became the dominion of legendary Rajput warrior prince Pritviraj Chauhan where the Qila Rai Pithora was witness to the deafeat of his glory in the Second Battle of Tarain by Ghauri. Upon his death, his slave, Qutubdin Aibak made Mehrauli his capital and the Sultans and emperors who followed him ruled from there.
The Qutub Minar was the crowning glory of Mamluks. Then Khiljis took over and build monuments such as Alai Darwaza, Madarsa and also laid foundation to the audacious Alai Minar which was supposed to be twice the size of Qutub Minar.
The Tughlaqs built their own capital in the vicinity and the Sayyids and Lodis also left behind their modest creations which are now nestled inside the sprawling Lodi Garden.
The Mughals too liked this place and built several monuments. They were great devotees of the saint Qutubdin Bakhtiar Kaki and build many structures to show their respect and reverence.
Finally, Mehrauli was also seen as a picnic spot of the royal families residing in the Red Fort. Later with the arrival of British, things changed but the allure of Mehrauli remained strong and Metcalf’s Follies and Dil-Kusha are prime example of that British penchant with then scenic Mehrauli.